Thursday, July 18, 2002

Just this once...

A little bit of meta. Sorry, kids, bear with me. It will be over soon.

But anyway, jenn said:

As LaT has stated, there really is no way to separate the diarist from the writer in most people's minds, and unfortunately, she's absolutely right. That's a point that never occurred to me, and now in retrospect, it seems very obvious. I've tainted my own work without being aware I was doing it, so short of changing names and making the separation actual, there is no possible way I can ever remove that taint. And even then, I'm not sure most people sorta wouldnt' catch on to the disappearance of one name and the beginning of another. *g*

There's probably more to this than I'm reading as it spans across several blogs, involves jennfic and I admit to being too time-starved to go and read all of the comments over the last few days, but I did think that jenn's comment was interesting - and worth mentioning here, mostly because I wonder if familiarity breeds contempt (and I don't mean this directed in any one direction - least of all jenn's, but only that she articulated something I'd been thinking about for quite a while).

Before blogs, there were writers - BNFs and everyone else - and you rarely communicated with each other. Maybe you got to rub shoulders with some of them on mailing lists, but there was always that clique of writers who maintained just enough distance to make you completely in awe of them. Or maybe you were a member of the clique and you created the distance. Whatever. But the point is, we didn't really get to know each other that well before blogs and LJs.

For instance, the Mod Squad members were Section 31 before the advent of blogs. The blogs opened up something new, one snark led to another and all of a sudden, we had a zen resort. I doubt zendom would exist today without blogs and the silliness of the Mod Squad in general - perpetuated through the blogs.

But at any rate, I read some blogs and I think, "Wow, this person is really cool and I like their take on such and such character." Or I'll read a ficlet and it'll be like, "More? Please?" (hint to Sara ::g::). At the same time, forgive me, there are blogs I hit once and I back away slowly, a victim of TMI. And I know that no matter how wonderful a writer is, I now have this forever TMI image in my head that will never, ever go away and I rarely go back because I'm honestly too scared.

And at the same time, I also think it's possible to tip one's hand too much when doing the meta-dance in one's blog. It's one of the reasons why for the most part I've stopped posting fic snippets or anything but the most general updates on fic here. I'm not necessarily sure that I want anyone but my betas to know what I'm thinking or where I'm going. I don't want to be held to one particular thing I said a long time ago.

For instance, I'm not a big fan of P/C fic - Lori and Rocky both know this (and now you guys do too ::g::), but I'm seriously musing a story idea for this pairing right now. And I don't want someone to come out and say, "You have no right to write this pairing because you don't even like it." Not that I think anyone can tell me what I can and cannot write - but the pressure is there. It's kind of like when you see grandiose retirement notices posted all over fandom and then three months later the writer is back New!Improved. But my point is - the blog is read by lots and lots of people and you don't even necessarily know who they are. And then the comments fly across the blog worlds so quickly, perceptions are formed based on what is said publicly and it's not necessarily true or false what eventually gets disseminated.

I do think the blog/LJ culture is a little like a huge game of Telephone.

And there's a little something of the diarist in the writer - in my case, the diarist is more like the real me, a little more bubbly than the writer who is constantly prodding the angst bunny for ideas. But there is an overlap once you start to dissect ideas, theories, canon, shows, etc. Perceptions are formed as you read other people's thoughts and it's not clear where your ideas begin, where the others' start. It's almost like there's a 'fandom norm' for certain things and everything else is just plain out there. And it's not clear who started the fandom norm in the first place, but it wouldn't be surprising to me if blogs/LJs had a lot to do with forming opinions on what is and isn't acceptable in fandom, not to mention, may actually recruit/scare people in/out of fandom. For instance, as a completely uninformed non-watcher of "Smallville" (in other words, I don't get WB or UPN), I will admit that the fandom scares me - there's a lot going on there and a lot that I don't understand even though I know Superman.

If the show showed up on my cable tomorrow, I'd be scared to even discuss the show here because it seems to me that opinions and attitudes have already been formed - that it might not be possible to say anything new or original at all (not to mention, it's my reason for not going to far away from Trek - learning a whole new set of canon and fanon terrifies me). It's all been discussed (or so I think - forgive me for the generalization).

And based on blogs, you can see who the defining personalities in a fandom are, and theoretically, if you wanted to fit in, you'd fall into line behind those opinions. And I'm not saying that people don't have their own opinions - it's just hard to go against mainstream when you're a new writer. Heck, even these days I find it very difficult to do something new, knowing how it will be received - but at least after 5 years in Trek, I've figured out just how much I can test the boundaries (and when I do, I know that at least I won't be laughed out of town) but a newbie to a fandom could just look at the general tone and feel overwhelmed by the amount of discourse going on there. I know I do - and I'm not even a member of some of these fandoms I run across in various blogs.

I have a point - I'm still fumbling for it. I think it's mostly that the blogs/LJs have more of an influence of fandom and fandom perceptions than we think they do and it can be either good or bad, depending on the reader/writer.

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